The 2022 Kentucky volleyball season has come to an end.
The Wildcats returned to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since April 2021 — when the Wildcats won the national championship for the first time — but would go no further after a three-set loss to San Diego on Thursday night at Maples Pavilion in Palo Alto, California.
Kentucky finishes the 2022 season with a 22-8 overall record, and having won at least a share of the SEC championship for a sixth consecutive season.
San Diego (30-1) dominated the match from start to finish, with set wins of 25-22, 25-19 and 25-18.
The Toreros have lost only once this season (at Louisville on Sept. 2) and continued their impressive form with a 27th consecutive win.
Among the standout statistics from Thursday night’s Sweet 16 match was a .327 to .127 hitting percentage advantage for San Diego. The Wildcats as a team committed 22 errors in the match.
Graduate student outside hitter Breana Edwards led all players in the match with 13 kills, while senior outside hitter Adanna Rollins led the Cats with 11 kills.
Some of San Diego’s standout performances came from players already familiar to the UK program.
Edwards transferred to San Diego from Indiana and was part of IU’s 2019 team that won a five-set match at Kentucky.
San Diego freshman libero and defensive specialist Olivia Bennett was born in Lexington and was a six-year varsity player at Bryan Station High School. Bennett tied for the second-most digs by a San Diego player in the match with six.
Kentucky recorded NCAA Tournament wins in straight sets over Loyola (Chicago) and Western Kentucky in the round of 64 and the round of 32, and those matches were played at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington.
The Wildcats made the NCAA Tournament for an 18th-straight season under head coach Craig Skinner, and UK won 20 or more matches for a 12th-straight year.
Now, the Wildcats will enter the offseason with some uncertainty surrounding the immediate future of the program.
Planned renovations to Memorial Coliseum will probably force four UK women’s sports (gymnastics, STUNT, volleyball and women’s basketball) out of Memorial Coliseum for the 2023-24 school year, UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart previously told the Herald-Leader.
UK has not announced where the temporary homes for those programs will be for their 2023-24 seasons.